Friday, 22 February 2019

Five-star chocolatier upset by hygiene rating blunder

Five-star chocolatier upset by hygiene rating blunder

A LUXURY chocolatier’s food hygiene rating is to be erased from official records after she complained that it was inaccurate.

Tutu Delicious in Watlington was awarded five stars, which means “very good” and is the highest possible rating, after being inspected under the Scores on the Doors scheme in March 2013.

Owner Zoe Haynes was later sent a five-star sticker, which the shop has been displaying on its front door in High Street ever since.

But the Food Standards Agency, which runs the national scheme in partnership with local authorities, recorded the score on its website as only three stars, which means “generally satisfactory”.

The discrepancy only came to light when the ratings for all businesses in this area were published in last week’s Henley Standard to mark the 10th anniversary of the scheme.

Tutu Delicious, which opened in 2011, queried the online score with South Oxfordshire District Council, whose environmental health officers carry out the periodic inspections and forward the results to the agency.

The council said it had found no records of the inspection and they were almost certainly destroyed in January 2015 when its old offices in Crowmarsh Gifford were razed to the ground in an arson attack.

It pledged to ask the agency to remove the rating from its system while continuing to search for traces of the paperwork.

Liza Simon, who manages the shop, said: “We haven’t been able to find any more paperwork at our end, which is very frustrating.

“It was such a long time ago that we don’t even recall an inspection.

“Clearly the five-star rating is correct or they wouldn’t have sent us that sticker but we’ve asked them to come out and inspect us again and said we don’t mind paying for it.

“We’re glad this came to our attention as the three-star rating had obviously been on the record for some time.

“As an extremely low-risk business, we didn’t have any further visits so the rating was never updated.”

Meanwhile, a butcher’s shop in Caversham which previously held a one-star rating has gone up to four stars after being re-inspected on Tuesday last week.

Whitings Butchers in Coldicutt Street had enjoyed a five-star score for many years but failed its previous inspection in November 2017 and was told “major improvement” was required.

Inspectors accepted the premises were clean and the staff were handling food safely and practising good hygiene but paper records weren’t being maintained correctly.

Martin Howarth, who has run the business since 1989, said there was a lapse as he had been seriously ill for some time and his son Daniel had been forced to step in as manager to keep it going.

He said: “I still can’t work and Daniel was very much thrown in at the deep end when he took over.

“The faults were mostly to do with the paperwork as I’d had five stars in the past but wasn’t able to keep it up like I used to.

“I agree with the system because it keeps people on their toes but sometimes there are personal circumstances that make it harder, especially if you’re a small family business trying to carry on as best you can.”

The online record is yet to be amended but the business has received a letter and a sticker confirming the latest result.

The Chilterns Court Care Centre, off York Road, Henley, has had its rating upgraded from four stars to five after an inspection on January 3. The online record was updated after last week’s Henley Standard went to press.

The Cook food shop in Duke Street, Henley, retained its five-star rating after an inspection on January 10.

All Scores on the Doors results are published at ratings.food.gov.uk

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